RAPID CITY, S.D. – It was wild day Tuesday in the CHL.
First, there was the news that Rapid City forward Les Reaney had been suspended one game for a hit to the head of defenseman Jamie Milam in Game 5, a 4-1 Rush victory.
Hours later, the suspension was overturned when the Rush appealed and a five-member committee voted unanimously he could play.
The committee is composed of two owners, two general managers and a former NHL supervising official.
The CHL wouldn’t disclose whether Reaney’s status as a repeat offender was considered. He had been suspended from Game 4, a 5-3 Fort Wayne victory, for hitting David Starenky from behind.
Among the criteria for Fort Wayne defenseman Brent Henley being suspended from Game 5 for kneeing Collin Circelli was that he was a repeat offender.
The Komets played Game 6 without center Brett Smith (neck) and Starenky (head). Smith was injured on a hit by Jeff Kyrzakos; Starenky on a hit by Reaney.
There had been four suspensions, totaling seven man-games, handed out for acts in the 10 playoff games between the Komets and Rush over two years. Reaney was scoreless in four playoff games.
Cut still hurts
Mike Vaskivuo had three goals and six points in the series heading into Tuesday, against the Rush team that cut him in March.
Only linemate Chris Auger had more points for the Komets – seven.
The Rush has been trying everything it can to slow down Vaskivuo, but it hadn’t been working. He had the only Fort Wayne goal Sunday.
They’re trying to run Vask every chance they get, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. It doesn’t seem to affect him at all. He hasn’t backed off. He takes the hits, keeps on playing and he dishes out the hits, too.
Vaskivuo, who has five goals and 15 points in 11 games with Fort Wayne, replaced Artem Podsendyalov, who had 18 goals and 43 points in 58 games before quitting to return to Russia.
Vaskivuo has been a great find for us, Sims said.
After losing Arty, we haven’t missed a beat with Vask and if anything, I think our team has improved and that line (of Vaskivuo, Auger and Colin Chaulk) has improved with Vaskivuo on it.
After his team went down 3-1 in the series, Rush coach Joe Ferras shook up his lines and it paid off.
We changed the lines up a little bit trying to get a little different look from those guys, Ferras said.
It’s tough. We’ve all coached long enough (to know) it’s tough to get the matchups when you’re the road team that you want, but it’s real easy to get it when you’re the home team (since you get the last line chance). So we just tried to get a different look against them.
The Komets and Vera Bradley Foundation announced that $16,123 was raised through the silent auction of jerseys to fight breast cancer and promote awareness for early detection and treatment.
Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock’s jersey went for the most: $1,800. Starenky’s sold for $1,200.